March 31 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Christopher Johnson and Angela Dewan, CNN

Updated 2:29 AM ET, Thu April 1, 2021
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2:53 a.m. ET, March 31, 2021

India's Covid-19 surge has gone from "bad to worse," health official says

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

Family members along with graveyard workers perform the burial of a woman who died of Covid-19 in New Delhi, on March 30.
Family members along with graveyard workers perform the burial of a woman who died of Covid-19 in New Delhi, on March 30. Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto/Getty Images

India recorded 354 Covid-19 related fatalities on Wednesday, the highest death toll reported in a single day since December 17, as officials warned the country must be on guard against surging cases.

V K Paul, a health official of a government-led think tank, said the situation appeared to be going from "bad to worse."

"Clearly we have to be very, very, vigilant," he said.

Between March 24 and March 29, India set consecutive new records for the number of Covid-19 cases identified in a day in 2021, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health. 

Nearly 80% of the new cases over the previous 24 hours were reported from the six states of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, according to figures released by the ministry on Tuesday.

India has distributed more than 63 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since it began vaccinating priority groups on January 16. Starting Thursday, anyone older than 45 can get vaccinated.

India has recorded more than 12.1 million cases of coronavirus and at least 162,468 people have died, according to the Ministry of Health.

5:46 a.m. ET, March 31, 2021

White House says Americans deserve "better information" as allies criticize WHO coronavirus report

From CNN's Nicole Gaouette and Jennifer Hansler

President Joe Biden believes Americans "deserve better information" about the origin of Covid-19 and further steps from the global community, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday after the release of a World Health Organization report that said the pandemic is very likely to have started with transmission from one animal to another, and then to humans.

"I think he believes the American people, the global community, the medical experts, the doctors -- all of the people who have been working to save lives, the families who have lost loved ones -- all deserve greater transparency," Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.

She spoke shortly after the US and 12 other countries released a joint statement raising questions about the WHO report and calling for independent and fully transparent evaluations, and the European Union called for better access for researchers and further investigation.

Authorities in 219 countries and territories have reported more than 128 million Covid-19 cases and 2.8 million deaths since China reported its first cases to WHO in December 2019. More than 30 million Americans have fallen ill and more than 550,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

"They deserve better information," Psaki said of Americans. "They deserve steps that are taken by the global community to provide that." She went on to criticize China for its lack of transparency and called on Beijing to provide data and answers to the global community.

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